Sometimes the big guy intervenes and thankfully didn’t make me have to choose between watching my beloved Chicago Cubs and the Muscatine County League of Women Voters city council and mayoral candidates forum on Oct. 10. The rain delay might have kept some people at home. Hopefully, they tuned in on local public access, but it allowed me to physically attend the event. I’m glad I did. Sometimes you can just get a good read on people with how they conduct and present themselves. I was thankful to have full view of the forum and those who attended.

Overall, I felt pleased with the forum, it seemed like there was a sense of politeness among the candidates, candor in their responses and I actually left feeling like it was too bad they couldn’t all get elected. Even when I disagreed with one candidate, there seemed to be another one I did agree with. I certainly don’t expect to agree with all elected officials on everything, but I’d like to at least agree with them sometimes.

There is one topic, however, that I felt was a bit misunderstood by the candidates. There were statements that I felt reflected our small and downtown business community. I heard comments stating that Muscatine needed more restaurants, that there were several chains but we need more locally owned. I work and dine at locally owned restaurants almost on daily basis that would love to serve the city council candidates. I heard a comment that downtown was great if you wanted to go to a bar. I think downtown is great if you want to buy a house, hire a lawyer, find a gift or make a healthy choice.

The point I’m trying to get at here is that we need our candidates to make sure they are working to get to know Muscatine -- all of Muscatine. So, on behalf of the Muscatine Journal that has called downtown home and assisted locally owned businesses for nearly two centuries, I invite you to re-discover the downtown and our general business community. Take a stroll. Its business owners represent a huge cross-section of our community. Do you eat out once a week? Try a locally owned restaurant you haven’t been to before.

I like seeing the increased number of “get to know the candidates” events. It is my hope that this continues past Election Day and any city code that exists as a perceived threat to these kinds of forums is re-written.

Kudos to the Muscatine County League of Women voters and its commitment to providing an unbiased forum for the candidates to gather. Now is the time for the rest of us to get to know the candidates and make sure we are making an informed decision. If you need more information on how to register or where to vote, call (563) 263-5821 or visit http://www.co.muscatine.ia.us/144/Auditors-Office

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